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Alpha

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Alpha Logo

Everyone has questions
We believe that everyone should have the chance to explore the Christian faith, ask questions and share their point of view; wherever they are in the world.

What is Alpha?

Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith. Each talk looks at a different question around faith and is designed to create conversation. Alpha is run all around the globe, and everyone’s welcome. It runs in cafés, churches, universities, homes—you name it. No two Alphas look the same, but generally they have three key things in common: food, a talk and good conversation.

First up there’s
Food

Whether it’s a group of friends gathered around a kitchen table, or a quick catch up over coffee and cake, food has a way of bringing people together. It’s no different at Alpha. Most sessions start with food because it’s a great way to build community and get to know each other.

Then a
Talk

The talks are designed to engage and inspire conversation. Usually around thirty minutes long and delivered over about eleven weeks, they can be given as a live talk or played as a video. They explore the big issues around faith and unpack the basics of Christianity, addressing questions from Who is Jesus? and How can we have faith? to Why and how do I pray? and How does God guide us?

Watch a Talk
Followed by
Discussion

Probably the most important part of any Alpha: the chance to share thoughts and ideas on the topic, and simply discuss it in a small group. There’s no obligation to say anything and there’s nothing you can’t say (seriously). It’s an opportunity to hear from others and contribute your own perspective in an honest, friendly and open environment.

We are starting our Alpha Course on Wednesday 17th January at 7.00pm, the course will run for 11 weeks and anyone coming to the initial meeting is under no obligation to come again, but we hope that you will enjoy the evening and find the talk and discussion stimulating.

Transforming lives in the Ukraine

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UKRAINE:
WINTER IS COMING

It’s getting cold in Ukraine. Because of the ongoing conflict, thousands of people have fled from their homes. With winter on its way, BMS World Mission is working to provide heating for families displaced by the fighting.

The temperature’s starting to drop. Soon, frost will cover the ground. The heating will be switched on. But for people in eastern Ukraine, ways of keeping warm have been taken away.
Along the boundary lines of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Ukraine, tension between pro-Russian separatists and pro-Ukrainian groups has caused violent unrest for the past three years, and there are no signs of it stopping. Parts of these regions are now controlled by the separatists, with the Ukrainian government suspending support to the area. As a result, people are without hot water. The central heating no longer works. Coal, gas and electricity are becoming increasingly more expensive, with many people unable to pay their energy bills. And with extreme winter conditions on the way, being able to stay warm is vital for families in Ukraine to survive the next few months.

Last year, Sergey, an elderly man living amidst the fighting, had the wall of his home heavily damaged. Not only did this let in the freezing cold, but it caused his heating system to break. BMS helped to fix the wall, and a ceramic heating panel was installed in his house, replacing the broken system. Because of your support, Sergey was able to live through the winter.
Along with local partners, last year BMS also helped another family with three young children, who had their central heating stop because energy to the building had been cut off. They weren’t able to leave the area because they were looking after their elderly parents. A ceramic heater was installed at their house, meaning they could keep looking after their parents and stay warm during the winter too. This year, thanks to your giving, we are able to help again.

Two million people are estimated to be living close to the boundary line of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, with a further two million people estimated to be living in the non-government controlled area. In a crisis of this scale, we’re committed to helping Ukrainians keep warm this winter.

Working with local partners, BMS is helping one thousand people affected by this terrible conflict. We’re providing water heaters, which will give families and internally displaced people access to hot water. Ceramic heaters, coal and firewood are being given as ways for families to heat their homes. And we’re helping children receive thermal underwear, meaning they can stay warm while they sleep.

To read more about the work of BMS or donate

Feeding of the 400

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FRANCE:

FEEDING OF THE 400

In secular France it’s hard to be a Christian. BMS World Mission is bringing young people together, helping them find community and spiritual nourishment. But the country still needs our prayers.

Around 400 young Christians descended upon the city of Poitiers, 150 miles north of Bordeaux, this weekend, ready to worship God at an event called Connexion 2017. For many, this was the largest gathering of Christians they had ever been a part of. Young people from all over France were here to praise God and grow in their faith. One girl came completely on her own, and many others came in groups of only five. There was laughter. There were tears. But most of all, there was a sense of family. A sense of belonging.

Lead speaker teaching at Connexion 2017

It’s lonely to be a Christian in France. In one of the most secular countries in the world, it’s difficult for people to find others who share their faith. “Young people are often the only ones in the classroom who are Christians,” says Benjamin, a 20-something French man. “With an event like this, we know we are not alone and we can worship the Lord together.” Connexion creates a safe place for Christians to express their love for Christ, without fear of mockery, and gain spiritual sustenance for when they return home.

Sue Wilson, a BMS worker in Paris, has run Connexion since 2015 with a small group of volunteers as part of her work with the French Baptist Federation. It’s really important, she says, that young people meet up with each other. “Often churches have small youth groups, so an event like this lets Christians connect with one another and worship God.” Through your support for BMS, this weekend you helped to show young French Christians that they are not alone.

From Witch Doctor to Church Planter

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The gospel is bearing fruit in India. BMS World Mission church planting projects are seeing men and women from all kinds of backgrounds, ages and places coming to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Including witch doctors.

There aren’t words strong enough to describe the impact the gospel is having in India. Its reach, depth and power is incredible. It’s even more impressive in the face of the real, dangerous and sometimes violent persecution and opposition Christians there are facing.

 

Selim* had wanted to be a witch doctor since childhood. He was fascinated. He was committed. He studied under a master and honed his witchcraft. He practised where he lives in West Bengal, making his livelihood selling potions and charms to heal the sick.

Selim’s sister Maya* is a BMS-supported church planter. She always tried to convince her brother to come along to church with her. They would fight, and He would refuse. He had always been resistant to hearing the gospel.

 

Here is the story of how Selim and Maya’s lives have been transformed by Christ. Here’s what knowing Jesus has meant for them, for their relationship and for their communities. Here is their story, in their own words:

My life has been completely changed.

“My sister, the church planter. The local fellowship she leads meet faithfully. I can hear people singing and praising God.”

“One member had been severely ill for a long time. He was dying. His family members had bought him to me many times for healing, but I had not been able to help him.”

“Unable to walk, the people of the village carried him to the fellowship one day and the members of the church started to pray for him. They prayed without ceasing. After three days of prayer he was completely healed and started walking and eating and doing everything that he had before.”

“I thought I was healing people by myself, with black magic and witchcraft, but I knew I had witnessed something amazing; this was a miracle. I understood my sister’s faith in this Jesus. My eyes were opened to the truth and I started to ask questions of my own.”

“With Maya’s encouragement, I started going to church. I heard the word of God, and wanted to know more. My sister gave me a Bible to read. The words transformed my heart, and I understood that there is no power greater than the power of the Lord Jesus.”

“I decided to abandon the wicked ways I knew and give my heart over to the one and only true God. I was baptised. I even changed my name.”

“My life has been completely changed. I am now running my own fellowships, as well as supporting my sister, sharing the gospel. We are part of a wider team, proclaiming the good news and worshiping our Lord together.”

“I am thankful to the Lord for leading me to my new work as a church-planter.”

Selim and Maya’s story is just one of many of God’s power changing hearts and minds in India.

BMS is excited to be a part of God’s plan for this great nation. Lives are being transformed thanks to church planting ministries your giving to BMS is supporting. We are seeing incredible things happening.

Keep praising God for these wonderful works. Keep praying for safety. Keep praying for growth. Keep supporting this ministry.